Homepage . Artwork . Design Services . Sailing . Sitemap ..
Home > Projects > Rafts > Barrel Raft

Home made raft plans

Over the years I have designed and built a number of rafts...

Raft Plans

A top view of the raft plans


Build your own Barrel Raft

Perhaps the most stable and durable of the designs, but definitely the slowest.

As you can see from the photos on the left, we built a raft out of 55 gallon plastic drums and plywood. the drums are attached to the wooden platform with steel cables. Originally, we tried to lash the barrels to the frame, but they came off in the water, and it was not stable enough.

We decided to put two 2x4s perpendicular to the plywood, and attached the barrels to the 2x4s, and we repeated this in the back. We used 4 bolts on each 2x4 to attach them to the plywood. We have learned it is helpful to over engineer everything we build. We made little metal 'flaps' that we epoxied to the barrels and ran the steel cable through them so that the barrels would not slip. The steel cable is tightened with clamps and then affixed to long eye bolts going through the 2x4s. We did not, but you may have to put blocks under the barrels to help keep them in place.

We have not figured out how to steer it or sail/row it. I did find some plans for some quick, cheap oars, I'm not sure if they will work. When we tested the raft, we just paddled it with canoe paddles, since this is painfully slow, we are going to build oars. We have learned from our experience with the beachcamper that we need to make sure it can fit on or in a car and it can be lifted.

View my PVC raft >>

End view of the raft plans
barrel raft Testing the raft in a friend's pool. Note the jolly roger!
The finished frame without the barrels


Back to the Homepage